Pengillys in the News
A local chartered fishing boat operator has successfully upheld at the High Court in London the decision of Weymouth Magistrates Court dismissing the charge against him bought by the fisheries authority, the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (SIFCA), formerly the Southern Sea Fisheries District (SSFD).
Mr Carlin, of Carlin Boat Charter Limited, was accused of breaching a byelaw which prevented boats in excess of 12 metres fishing within 6 miles of the coast following his boat being boarded by authorities back in 2007 and again in May 2009.
Mr Carlin accepted that his charter trips required fishing within this boundary but always maintained, with the support of the Professional Boatman’s Association and the Weymouth and Portland Licensed Skippers Association, that this byelaw did not cover the charter industry and was intended to restrict the activities of commercial fisherman only.
Following a 3 day hearing in February/March 2011 District Judge found in favour of Mr Carlin and the charter boat industry indicating that when the byelaw was created the Committee had not considered the charter boat industry and therefore it was deemed to be invalid. Accordingly Mr Carlin and his skipper on the day of the last boarding were not guilty of an offence.
Despite this clear decision SIFCA appealed and the High Court heard the matter on Friday 30 March at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Owen considered the matter and upheld the original decision after only minutes of deliberation.
Mr Carlin is relieved that this matter is now resolved but confirms it has had an impact on his business and his life. He said “this has seriously affected my whole operation. To live with the fact that the powers that be wanted to destroy my business and it seemed very much like they only wanted to get me.” Mr Carlin added that “it has put an enormous amount of pressure on my family, living with it for four years.”
Rachel Turner of Pengillys represented Mr Carlin’s company, with the assistance of Timothy Bradbury, Barrister of 3 Paper Buildings in Bournemouth.
Miss Turner said “the High Court were surprised by a number of the arguments raised by SIFCA at the appeal and were very clear that interpreting the byelaw the way they suggested would have unintentionally criminalised a group of people who had not been considered, and should have been, namely the charter boat industry.
These proceedings have taken a number of years to resolve and have been costly - not only have SIFCA spent £60,000 on their own costs, Mr Carlin's company has been awarded reimbursement of its legal costs from the public purse."